Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Philosophy of Campaign Rules

The philosophy behind my campaign rules for 5e D&D games set in Arksylvania is: say yes, be flexible, but take the opportunity to make things fit the campaign's feel. That is, if someone wants to play a dragonborn paladin, that's cool...but "dragonborn" are a little different to fit the themes of the campaign. 

Ability Scores
  • You can use random roll, allocate 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 as you see fit, or use the variant “point buy” method to generate your character's ability scores.
  • In addition to the classes in the Player's Handbook, also available are the variants from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.
  • If you want to modify or customize a background by swapping out skills or proficiencies, let me know.
  • The backgrounds from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide are also available.
  • All of the races in the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Elemental Evil Player's Companion, and Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide are available, but are likely different in origin, form, or purpose in fog-shrouded Arksylvania as follows:
  • Humans (human or variant human) – Most characters in Arksylvania are human. All too human.
  • Beast-Hexed (half-orc) – Whether due to a curse or a family history of lycanthropy, some are born bestial and prone to bloodthirsty rage. The Beast-Hexed bear the signs of their affliction: enlarged canines, cat-like eyes, or excessive bodily hair are all indicators of their animal nature.
  • Calibans (halfling) – Sometimes a child conceived in a vicinity where black magic is practiced is born malformed, gnarled, and stunted. Despite their physical abnormalities, these calibans are often charming, dexterous, and supernaturally lucky.
  • Changelings (elves, dwarves, gnomes, goliaths) – For unfathomable reasons, capricious beings sometimes steal a human infant and leave one of there own progeny as a replacement.
  • Chthonians (genasi) – Some children born during eclipses, planetary conjunctions, or other strange celestial events are imbued with the power of the primal elements.
  • Dhampir (drow) – Some accursed individuals are descended from a bloodline tainted by the curse of vampirism. Although sensitive to sunlight, their death-touched ancestry grants them a measure of occult power.
  • Fey-Touched (half-elf) – Sometimes a fey carries on an short affair with a mortal man or woman. If a child is born of this temporary union, it is always left with the mortal paramour when the fey lover returns to the Feywild. These Fey-Touched children are often marked by subtle clues to their parentage such as pointed ears, entrancing eyes, or unnaturally red hair.
  • Fiend-Blooded (tiefling) – Some warlocks and unholy petitioners consort with demons, devils, and the like. When this occurs, a family may pass down infernal or abyssal traits through the generations. These traits are accompanied by marks of impurity, such as horns, cloven feet, or forked tongues.
  • Grotesque (dragonborn) – Grotesques are not a race or a bloodline; one becomes a grotesque due to committing a sin that eats away at the soul and leaves the body transformed into a gargoyle-like form replete with fang, claw, and hardened scales.
  • Nephilim (aasimar) – Legends speak of rebellious angels who walked the earth and sired a race of children with the sons and daughters of men. The descendants of these children, the nephilim, carry a measure of their angelic ancestor's divine power.
  • Ravenborn (aarakocra) – Believed to be the favored of the Raven Queen, these strange creatures walk among men for mysterious purposes known only to their somber and black-feathered kindred. Despite being viewed as harbingers of death and doom, they are given a measure of respect by all pious Arksylvanians.
  • Instead of tracking Experience Points, we’ll be using the Session-Based Advancement described in the DMG.
  • Arksylvania features pistols and muskets as per the DMG. Pistols count as simple weapons; muskets count as martial weapons.
  • Feats are available in this campaign.

Fear, Horror, Madness, and Dread
  • We'll be using the fear, horror, and madness rules from the DMG.
  • If your character isn't a native of the Shadowfell, they are subject to the despair rules in the DMG because Arksylvania exists within a Domain of Dread.